06 Mar How to Choose Your WordPress Theme
This is a quick tutorial – well, perhaps not so quick. I’m not quite sure of the time. But it’s a request that I have time and time again from my clients when I’m upgrading people’s websites, “Paul, what should we look for in our new WordPress theme design? What kind of things do we need to be aware of to keep in mind?”
So, I’m going to go through some of my favorite things, the things that I look for when I’m looking to build a small business website that is responsive, that’s going to get results for the business that I’m working with. Let’s begin. First thing’s first. I’m here on my own site right now, PaulBarrs.com. I have a free report called “The Website Success Checklist”. You can come here. You can just download it straight away, okay? This is easy access stuff. I want you to be able to look at this information and learn from it.
It covers all the things that you need to know about the things that are important for converting your browsers into buyers. How do you find it?
Real simple, you come to the sitemap at PaulBarrs.com, and then just scroll down to the bottom of where it says Pages to the Website Success Checklist. That’s where it is right now. If not, you can search for it. Or if you can’t find it, send me an email and I’ll get it out to you straight away. That’s important.
Another good resource for you as well on my YouTube channel just here, WordPress video tutorials. I’ve got a bunch of them if you’re looking to work with WordPress and learn a little bit more. So let’s now get into the business of actually looking for themes. I’m just going to cruise over here to Google, and I’m going to put in “WordPress themes”, and we’ll have a quick look and see what comes up. Wow. 144 million results.
There are Many Great WordPress Themes… Ask Google –
This is why it’s confusing, okay? This is why it’s confusing. Because what do we need to look for? Well, let me help you pick. You can see some of these pages I’ve visited already. Let me just narrow that down. Maybe we might look for a health or a wellness-type theme. So, here we go – health, wellness WordPress themes. There we go. That’s one of the choices.
Yes. There’s one there. There’s a link there. There’s another link there. There are all these links we can start looking through. So that’s one way to do it. If I click on this particular link, here, it’ll open up to a new page, and it’ll take me through to a theme, which I can then look at and [inaudible 00:03:05]. I can look at a live preview. I can look at some screenshots, and I can receive – here we go – there’s a bit more information of what it might look like.
Okay, well this is interesting. It gives me a bit of information. This is on a website called ThemeForest.net. What I will look for initially is the design. If I can just make this a little bit larger, I’ll show you what I mean. I’m looking for design, not colors. Colors can be changed relatively easy. I’m looking for site structure such as, there’s a menu bar across the top. There’s a nice image or perhaps a slider series here. Some highlighted text for a headline here.
I can feature some text from some of my pages here, and then I could also have a subscription form or some further details down the bottom. Okay? So that’s the kind of thing that we’re looking for.
In a nutshell, that’s an example of the types of things we might look for in a theme. But let’s do it in a bit more detail.
Let me come over here to Theme Forest. Theme Forest is a good website where designers will showcase their work and we can start searching through them for different themes. Coming into the WordPress section here, maybe I’ll just go to their corporate, for example, and I’ll have a quick look.
The one thing I must say I don’t particularly like about Theme Forest is its search function isn’t the best, and these descriptions here really don’t show us much. This is an advert. Look at this big image that comes up. That’s an add. That’s not showing me what the theme looks like, which is what I want to see.
So, anyway, moving over here to the search function, I’ll just put in “health WordPress theme”, and press Search. So hopefully this is going to bring up WordPress themes for me to look at that have been tagged in some way with “health”. Medical and Health, not really a wellness-type theme. Medical, yeah.
Milan Beauty WordPress CMS theme. Okay, let’s have a look at that. I’ll look at the preview. It gives me a bit of an idea of what it might look like. So I might just open that up in a new window, and we’ll have a closer look at it.
So I’m guessing this is what the design is going to look like, but if I go to the preview, which is the best thing to do. Always want to look at the preview, and I’ve got this window open a bit larger than the actual screen size for the moment. But that’s just so we can get the best possible look. Okay, this is really a beauty specialist of some sort.
But what I’d be looking for if I was looking for this is the ability to showcase my work. That’s something I’d be looking for with a bit of text. Nice. The ability to have my own background images. Always have easy navigation. That’s important. Place for a logo, that’s important. Scrolling down, not much. Okay.
So, it looks like there’s not much else I can do unless they click up here. I don’t like that theme. I like to provide people with more information on the main page to direct them to where they want to go. So if I back out of each of those – okay, I just closed down Theme Forest. Never mind. But we’ll look at some of these other ones.
Woo Themes.. my Personal Favorite.
Now I’m on Woo Themes, and let’s have a look at, say, the business responsive-type themes, and we’ll search. I’ll open up one of these, and look at the things that we’re looking for. You need to have in mind a bit of an idea of how you would like it to look. Open that link in a new window. It’s going to give me information about this particular design. This one is called function.
I’ve got a demo I can look at, but good. Here’s just an example. Very small. I might go straight to the demo. While that demo is opening, though, I can come back here and I can look and see what some of its functionalities are. It’s a responsive design, which means it will adjust to different browsers and mobile devices. That’s good. Featured slider means I can have more than one featured image. That’s good.
Integrates features by Woo Themes – now, Woo Themes have their own plug-ins and abilities for some really neat little things. That’s good. Testimonials is a built-in plug-in, great. Custom homepage means I can make changes to the homepage to kind of customize it the way I like it, great. Portfolio, showcasing work with a photographic portfolio, yes. Okay, that’s good if you want that of course. I can add widgets, different colors, and so on.
Let’s come to the theme just here. Let’s see if I can shrink that down just a little bit for a closer look. Okay. These are the things that in this particular theme are not easily changed. This site menu across the top, color can be changed, but there’s a menu there. It might be able to get rid of it, but it may not be able to. Logo will be here, search function here, shopping cart and so on here. This index here, it’s going to be there, probably all the time. You might be able to put it below the image, but I doubt it. Don’t know why you’d want to.
This is part of the theme design. Underneath that are the featured images. It’s part of the theme design. You can’t put your featured images all the way down here on the bottom. The theme design says these featured images will always be here at the top. That’s part of the theme design. What those images are is up to you. What this background is, is up to you.
By the look of this particular theme, we have here a background, white dividing space, and our featured images. This theme design says this background, this white space, these featured images, it’s always going to be like that. We can just change the images themselves.
Then we have some more, and then we have some text. Then we can go into more detail. One, two, three, four – chances are there are only four. If I scroll down a bit further, no, we can have four featured pages here. We can have four featured posts. Now, that’s a good thing to look for, actually. I like that. Feature your main pages here.
Pages never changes usually, really change within a WordPress website. Blog posts are frequently updated. I like this, being able to feature the blog post on the main page as well. That’s good. Then, down here, products. This one would plug in to e-commerce, the Woo-commerce plug-in as well. If you’re selling something, this is fantastic.
So, from a point of view of a good business theme, it’s simple. All right?
The design is simple, no doubt. It would be possible to customize this top section to make it look better, but that’s going to cost you money, because this theme on its own is already made to look like that. But it has what you need on the main page. What do you need on the main page?
Well, you need an easy way for people to find what they’re looking for and contact you. You don’t need big featured images, but they’re nice. People like them. You do need an opportunity to feature your pages. That’s important. You don’t need – ah, listen. You don’t need a place to feature your blog posts, but it’s good if you can, not necessary.
If you have a shop, you do need an ability to feature some of your products on the main page. That’s great. Then, down here in the footer, yes, you do need the ability to add in social media. Maybe your recent posts could show up here, and these are usually just plug-ins that make those happen. I’ll do another video on plug-ins shortly.
So that’s an idea of some things that you really do need. Let me have a look at one more, and I’ll just scroll through here very quickly. Okay. Let’s just take this one just here, and we’ll have a quick look at the demo. Watch this, the Capital theme. We’ll look at what you do need, what you don’t need and just make a quick comparison. Okay? Then, we’ll look at one more website.
So, what do we need? We need a way for people to be able to contact us easily and navigate the site. Has this got it? Yes, right up here. Do we need a place to feature a logo? No, actually we don’t. Most customers don’t care about our logo, but we’ve usually got one. So it’s good to have it there, top left. That’s pretty standard these days.
I like this. We hit them with some text before the image. I love that, because this is what search engines like. They like text as well. It let’s people know you’re in the right place. I like that very much. Then we can have some featured images. Okay? Very good.
This particular theme is straight up. We’re selling a product here, so shopping cart, shopping cart, shopping cart. Do you need that if you’re selling? Absolutely. That’s important. Do you need to have your posts on the main page? No, you don’t, unless of course it’s a blog, just a blog. But if you’re selling a product, your blog probably won’t sell your product.
You want to have product on the main page, too. Then some featured pages down the bottom, here. Do you need them? I think it’s a good idea. All right? Do you need this little, “I’m going to show you my last Twitter post”? Absolutely not. Not necessary, okay? So that’s a few ideas.
Here’s one more site to have a quick look at, ElegantThemes.com. I’m just in their gallery at the moment, and we’ll scroll through, and we’ll just have a quick look at some of these. All right, let me just quickly open up this one here. It’s called Evolution. I haven’t preplanned which of these I’m going to be looking at. Let’s have a look what kind of business this was built for. We’ll go straight to the demo. While the demo is opening, we’ll just check out the features.
The features are, it looks good on a computer. Yeah, great. Okay. Features are, fully responsive, meaning it’s going to adjust to different browser screen sizes. That’s important. We get access to updates. That’s good. If it’s available, secure a code, different browser compatibility. Everybody pretty well has that. Complete localization, unique colors, so you can adjust your theme color with the click of a button. That’s very important.
Unparalleled support, yeah, that’s good sales stuff. Responsive options, short codes, usually refers to an easy way to do things. There are built-in page templates. That’s good. Not essential, but it is good. There are the features of this particular theme. Let’s look at the theme itself now.
Scrolling, forgetting about this little bar at the top. That’s just to get back to Elegant. If I can maybe get rid of that. So here we have with our logo, for example. Now, what I like about this one is its simplicity. Simple is good. Yeah, simple is good. So we come back here. Logo, easy way to find what you’re looking for, easy ways to contact. Featured images with some text. Now, I think this is important, featured images “with” some text. Yes.
Good paragraph, tell them why they’re here. You don’t want people to spend time on your site if they’re in the wrong place. But if they’re in the right place, you want to tell them why they’re here. Recent work, this would be great for a photography site, don’t you think? Looking at this or something that’s very, very visual, more about the company, blog posts. Okay, very, very basic theme. I probably wouldn’t recommend that for too many businesses, but it’s a neat little theme as well.
What I’d like to do now – and I’m just going to pause this video while I go back to actually finding it – I’m going to find just a nice, colorful theme on Theme Forest, and we’ll have a look at that to finish up. Okay, I’m back on Theme Forest, and I’m looking at this wellness theme which I had opened beforehand. Let’s see if it meets the grade of what we’re looking for.
A little place for the logo, yeah, not necessary but we usually like them. Easy access for social media, yes, very important, needs to be there somewhere. Easy access to find what you’re looking for and contact, very, very important. I love this, having the number right up front. For a business, I think that’s important. Good place for some nice images, bit of a curve, makes it look good, a little bit of text. Yes, looks great. Place for a good headline, very important, yes. Place for a button, you could make that a contact button, or to, I guess, link to wherever.
Place to showcase your main pages, yes, that’s very important. In this section, a booking form or a subscription form, very important. This is nice. I like that. Here we have maybe some not quite so important, but still good pages or posts linking to them. Okay. Commenting, various widgets down here, no matter. But the important stuff, yes. Social media here, easy search, and contact, that’s important.
Looks good, headline, featured pages, subscription form of some sort. Look, this one just here. Let me throw this in. I had someone look at this recently and say, “Mm, not really sure I want my customers to do that.” I said, “Of course you want them to do that. It’s not them booking a time. It’s them asking. You’re getting their name and phone number so you can call them.”
Oh, yes. So important. If you’re not interested as a business in getting people’s name and phone number and email address, then you’re not in business. You’re in hobby mode. Different thing. I don’t help people build their hobbies. I help them build their businesses. Business is about getting contacts. Look. If your customer doesn’t want to give you a name and a phone number, they won’t. Problem solved, okay? But you should at least make it possible for them.
So it has everything, and if I come back to there – a description is just here – you can see that there are some preset colors. But of course, even these preset colors, I’m sure, can be changed with a little bit of effort. Okay? Important to note, look at these final details just here. Compatible browsers, most of them. Documentation, yeah, got a bit of help. Layout, responsive, yes. It says it’s responsive, which of course means it should adjust to different browser sizes. Let’s have a look. If I shrink the browser size down, it’s not bad. It’s not brilliant. It’s not a mobile site, anyway. It’s just as an idea, but you can find out.
So I hope that helps you just sort of learn a little bit more about what you could be or should be looking for in a small business website built with WordPress. Easy to find what they’re looking for, for their customer, easy to contact you, that’s important. Okay? If you look at things like that, that’s the most important thing. Showcase your work. Make it easy for people to find it, easy to contact you. That’s the most important thing.
Next thing we’ll look at in these videos, final things we’ll look at are the different plug-ins. Talk to you again soon. Bye-bye.